Meister's Sweets - One of Niagara's best kept secrets!
Springerle cookies are very popular in the southern part of Germany, in Austria, Switzerland, parts of Hungary, in the Alsace Region of France and by many people in the United States.
The Meister's came from the northern part of Germany where these kind cookies are not well known. However when asked to make some, he was immediately willing to try it.
In order to make these unique and delicious cookies which have a very long history special molds are required which are pressed into the dough to make imprints.
He used the recipe from Ken Hamilton - the "Springerle Baker" who lives in South Carolina and collects antique molds and sells wonderful crafted cookies on-line. Lothar will not do this.
Ken Hamilton's Springerle Cookie Recipe
1/2 teaspoon baker's ammonia (Hartshorn)
2 tablespoons water
6 large eggs, room temperature
6 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter (a little more or less is okay)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon flavor of your choice (more if desired)
8 cups sifted cake flour
more flour as needed
Some typical Springerle molds, newly carved by Dukasi in Thuringia, Germany
Our long time Swiss supplier for Springerle molds passed away. In order to offer new designs we found Dukasi in Thuringia. They do the carving of the original molds in pear wood and they also make the replicas which we offer.
Lothar used the traditional anise seed as flavor.
Anise powder may be preferable in order to show the imprints clearer, but he used what he had in stock and this was only a trial. He also added some gingerbread spices.
The hartshorn was dissolved in water and set aside.
Eggs were beaten till thick and lemon-colored and the powdered sugar has been added slowly as well as the softened butter.
He added the hartshorn with the water, salt, the selected preferred and grated rind of lemon, lime or orange.
He treated this mixture mix on medium speed for about 30 minutes in his machine. A longer time would do no harm!
We used the time to talk in German. He was also a biker like me and we shared our experience.
Despite having diabetes I enjoyed going regularly to his pastry shop. I miss him badly. He was a heavy smoker and he lost the battle with cancer and Brigitte his wife followed him after a few months.
Now his son is continuing the good work. Watch the slide show by using the link below.
Lothar is adding the anise seed and the ginger bread spice to the sifted flour
Mixing the dough
Kneading the dough and adding some more flour
The cleaned molds
Rolling out the dough
Do not use a hammer or a rolling pin to press the mold into the dough! It may break.
You need some force to press the mold into the dough. By using these molds it was not necessary to dust them with flour - the dough did not stick.
Remove the mold without damaging the imprint.
Use a pastry wheel, a pizza cutter or a knife to cut out the cookies.
For round cookie use a glass or a cookie cutter.
Lift up the cookie carefully and place it on a baking sheet covered with parchment
Lothar presents one cookie before putting it back for drying
You can see why it is preferable to use anise powder!
The cookies must dry for about 24 hours. Otherwise the picture on the cookie will be distorted during the baking process
Ready for baking
Lothar's first Springerle baked in Canada